Mike & H&S Companies
Third Battalion, Fifth Marines
The North Carolina Memorial Wall, at the rest area on I-85 near Lexington, North Carolina, has the names of over 1,600 North Carolinians who gave their life in the Vietnam War. One of those names is Herbert Coleman Wright Jr.,
known by his nickname "Todd" or Coleman to his friends and family. For
the retelling of these events I'll call him Todd.
Her next call, through the good graces of the first contact, was to her uncle, Paul Wright, who in turn called his sister Kay, living in Chicago. Kay, in turn, called Tanya. Understandably Tanya was quite emotional and Kay was in shock and taken aback. She asked for phone numbers and called Jeannie and they agreed that Jeannie would send pictures of Tanya from her very early years onwards. Well, it just so happened that Tanya was a spitting image of her father and grandmother. She was instantly accepted.
Jeannie and her daughter Tanya visited Black Mountain in October 1995 and met the whole family. Tanya's aunt Kay came down from Chicago. Also, several former Marines from 1/9 who knew Todd in 'nam came for the occasion. They all treated Jeannie and Tanya like queens. The week ended in a ceremony at the local High School, which is also the location of a Veteran's Memorial.
Since then Jeannie and Tanya, and Tanya's child, who would be Todd Wright's grandson, have been back to Black Mountain. And Jeannie has been to Chicago to see Kay.
So Herbert Coleman Wright Jr. lives on in name and memory and generations to follow will know his story. All because of Marines and other Viet Vets who take care of their own with the help of the technology of the internet.
Postscript: There is a book that you all may have seen called Offerings At The Wall. One of the pictures in the book is of a yellow Corvette, a North Carolina coffee mug and a picture of a young Marine. The picture is of Todd Wright and the 'Vette and mug are his. They were left by his mother at the Traveling Wall at one of its many stops many years ago. They were collected, sent to D.C. and saved as artifacts which is why they were in the book. Don had seen the picture but hadn't put it together. When Jeannie came back from her North Carolina trip they realized what it was.
2nd Postscript: Don and Jeannie came across the North Carolina
Memorial on a trip to Georgia a few years back, the same way I did. Don
had the same reaction I did and came across the story I wrote on the previous
page and told me. The trip was made before any contact had been made with
Todd Wright's family. They both feel the way the whole set of
circumstances fell together is eerie.